Letting to students is a favoured option for many landlords, as you can be sure there will be a high demand and the rental period is likely to be a long one.
The accommodation needs to be safe and comfortable, while meeting all the legal letting requirements, but it doesn’t need to meet the high-end standards of luxury homes that professional tenants would expect. All things considered; this will result in a higher yield.
However, when you rent to students, you also need to take specific considerations into account. As with every market, there are pros and cons to the student lettings market.
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Preparing for the new term
This is the time to start preparing your student accommodation. Prospective tenants planning to move in at the start of the academic year in September will already be looking.
While many students spend their first year in university accommodation halls, some will choose private rentals. Most students, from the second year onwards, will be looking for private rented accommodation. Usually, universities will remain in close contact with students applying to live in halls.
Those who apply too late will join the thousands of other students up and down the UK who will need somewhere to live in September.
Drawbacks to student rentals
Landlords who rent out to students tend to find their properties suffer more wear and tear. Students will expect their home to be fully furnished – as few can afford to provide their own furniture. With that in mind, many landlords choose to get student furniture packages from one specialist provider, to ensure high quality items that meet safety standards. This can include bespoke student furniture that will provide a cost-effective solution for every size and shape of room and property.
The best time to market your property to students is in May, ready for the June rush of lettings. Typical student properties have a minimum of three bedrooms, a large communal space such as a spacious kitchen or lounge, and more than one bathroom and toilet if possible.
These facilities, particularly the extra bathroom, is always a good selling point. A garden is also a popular addition for students. The location of your property should ideally be within a 30-minute walk from the university campus, so that students who intend to walk, cycle or use public transport won’t have too far to travel.
How do I market my property?
Market your student lets in the same way you would another property. If you have an agent, expect them to list your property online, on sites such as Zoopla and Rightmove.
Universities usually release lists of approved rentals, so make sure yours is on the list. A reputable letting agent will have a good relationship with their local university, so if you are marketing the property yourself, make sure you don’t miss this excellent marketing avenue.
How do I protect my income?
It can be difficult for a landlord to get a reference for student tenants using the standard processes. For many, it will be their first time away from living with parents and they will be unlikely to have a regular income.
Many landlords will seek a guarantor for each student tenant; usually a parent, guardian or other relative, who is responsible for settling the rent should the student tenant not pay.
It’s possible for landlords to insure themselves against tenants’ non-payment. Shop around and find an insurance scheme that guarantees you will get 100% of your rent paid for up to six months of the tenant’s contract, or until you can obtain repossession of your property.
What furniture should I provide?
If you’re providing fully-furnished student property, you will need to provide at the very least: a fridge-freezer; a washing machine; a cooker; beds; carpets, curtains and lampshades; wardrobes; a desk and chair in each student’s room; a sofa and often a vacuum cleaner and lawnmower.
In most cases, you will also be letting to sharing occupants who are not part of a family group, so you must comply with HMO safety legislation.
What about Covid-19?
The government is analysing the situation and updating its advice on a daily basis, based on new Covid cases. Landlords can only continue to prepare their student accommodation while keeping a watchful eye on the latest government advice.
Contact Furniture Pack Solutions, a leading specialist in student furniture, to find out how we can meet all your needs.